Sunday, January 20, 2019

Parshas Beshalach 5779

The Quail and the Manna

The Torah writes (Exodus 16:11-15) [emphasis added]:
The LORD spoke to Moses: “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Speak to them and say: By evening you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; and you shall know that I the LORD am your God.” In the evening quail appeared and covered the camp; in the morning there was a fall of dew about the camp. When the fall of dew lifted, there, over the surface of the wilderness, lay a fine and flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?”—for they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “That is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.
However, the Torah doesn't mention the quail again until much later where there are complaints for more meat (Numbers 11:4-7):
The riffraff in their midst felt a gluttonous craving; and then the Israelites wept and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish that we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. Now our gullets are shriveled. There is nothing at all! Nothing but this manna to look to!” Now the manna was like coriander seed, and in color it was like bdellium.

Rabbeinu Bachya writes (Exodus ibid):
Both the quail and the manna appeared for the first time on a Sunday (compare our comment on verse 1 and 5). The quails formed a daily diet of the Israelites for 40 years (based on Tossaphot Erchin 15 on the word התאוו). As long as the Israelites had the manna they also had the quails. Concerning verse 38: “the Israelites ate the manna for 40 years,” (where no such particulars are given for the quails), we must assume that the same applied to the supply of quails which became available every evening. The reason the Torah only refers to the continued supply of the manna for 40 years is that seeing it was heavenly food it required a daily supernatural miracle during all those years. The availability of the quails by comparison, was a much less impressive miracle, not having required that something out of the ordinary be “manufactured” in the celestial regions. Making the quails available is described by the Torah as a more or less natural phenomenon in Numbers 11,31when the Torah reported: “a wind went out from Hashem and blew quails from the sea and spread them over the camp.” ...
Tosfos (Arakhin 15b) cites a different opinion:
Rashi explains that they wanted more which implies that the quail did not stop for them. However, R' Yosef Kara explains that the original quail stopped for them and the rabble among them had a desire for more since they did not have it, and therefore it rained the quail for a second time
(see Sefer Pesach Einayim in Arakhin for additional opinions)

Bechor Shor (Exodus ibid) explains:
The quail here is the one from [Parshas] Behaaloscha only since the manna was mentioned here, it also mentioned the quail, for you should know if Moshe saw the quail come to them once and stop, why would he say "Would enough sheep and cattle be slaughtered and found for them"?
Chizkuni writes (ibid):
the gift of quails was a one time occurrence, which explains the people’s complaint in Numbers 11,4 where they craved meat. On that occasion G-d provided them with meat a second time as stated in the Talmud Erchin folio 15. Rashi writes that the demand by the people for meat in their diet described in Numbers was more insistent. The manna was provided by G-d daily for forty years. [After the disastrous results of many people dying from overeating on meat in the second year of their wanderings, and dying as a result, we never hear of such a request again. Ed.]
Ramban (ibid 16:12) writes:
... for the quail was with them from this day going forward just like the manna .. and the Torah spends more time discussing the manna and less time on the quail because the manna was miraculous ... and the reason why they complained at Krias Tarbeh for it was not not given to them for satiety ... perhaps only the great ones gathered it, or the pious among them, and the lesser ones desired it and hungered for it...
Riva (ibid 16:13) writes that the they did not complain about lack of meat, rather they were upset about the ban of marrying certain relatives that were permitted before the Torah was given

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